South Scranton residents want permit hotline
Jan 03, 2013 (The Times-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
South Scranton residents want the city to create a "permit hotline" that can be called to check whether valid city work permits have been issued for commercial or residential construction or renovation projects.
The issue was among several concerns raised Wednesday during a South Side Residents Association and Community Justice meeting at the Renaissance Center on Pittston Avenue.
The 11 residents who attended the meeting voiced frustration with what they perceive as a lack of enforcement of various city ordinances and regulations that diminishes the neighborhood.
"We're just fed up," said resident Steve Wallis.
Association President Judy Gatelli said, "There's no rules here. That's why all the transients are coming here."
Mr. Wallis replied, "The transients come here because of the slumlords," and Ms. Gatelli retorted, "The slumlords are here because there are no rules."
The group was expecting to host Mark Seitzinger, the director of the city's Department of Licensing, Inspections and Permits, but he was unable to attend.
Sitting around a few tables in the dark, chilly Renaissance building, the residents discussed wide-ranging concerns including: vehicles allowed to illegally park on sidewalks; residents failing to remove snow and ice from walkways; overflowing trash cans on Cedar Avenue not being emptied; a seeming rise in targeted purse snatchings, strong-arm robberies and cellphone thefts; and work projects being done without permits.
Regarding this last point on permits, Mr. Wallis said, "I think people are just doing what the hell they want."
Thom Welby, who attended the meeting both as a resident and as chief of staff of state Rep. Marty Flynn, D-113, Scranton, suggested the group ask City Hall to create a permit hotline.
"We have pothole hotlines. We have drug hotlines. Can't we get a permit hotline you can call " Mr. Welby said.
His idea is that if a resident suspected work was being done without permits, the resident could call the hotline to verify whether permits were issued, Mr. Welby said. If permits were not obtained, the city then could issue citations and collect fines, he said.
The group asked Mr. Welby to write a letter to City Hall asking for such a hotline to be created.
Contact the writer: jlockwood@ timesshamrock.com
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